BuzzMetrics from Nielson has the right methodology for analysis of social impact on brands. But of course, for the entrepreneur these tools may be too costly to invest in when thinking about sustainability in the build up phase.
The basic concepts can be done using a combination of free tools (of course this is more work, but since when is starting your own business easier than doing a job for someone else). Setting up Alerts for your company name, your brand and your product name, and even for you, is a good start. There are several places you can do this, but a good start is Nielsen’s free tool Blogpulse and Google (you will need a Google account to set this up). This will at least send you summaries of the sites and links to buzz. You should get familiar with using “feeds” from other site and blogs so you can tag ones that are of interest. Check out some of the free white papers and data on nielsen-online as well to establish a good base and learn from existing market research.
For those of you less techy-types, here is an explanation about feeds and how to use them. I am certainly starting to appreciate Commoncraft’s ability to break things down into “plain English.”